Baseline: Interstitial rumination

How to write a column about advertising? Dead simple.Just tune in a top-rated show like Seinfeld, watch all the hot new spots, ignore all the mediocre stuff, and flip a coin as to whether to extol the brilliant, or place burning...

How to write a column about advertising? Dead simple.

Just tune in a top-rated show like Seinfeld, watch all the hot new spots, ignore all the mediocre stuff, and flip a coin as to whether to extol the brilliant, or place burning coals between the toes of the monumentally idiotic.

Oh boy! Here we go! First spot is a pan down a beer glass. Then a pan down a beer bottle. Dark beer. Light price. Carling Dark. Whadda ya want in fifteen seconds? Ben Hur?

Next, it’s Pairs Plus from Pizza Hut Delivery, and they feel obliged to assure us that Canadians love it! Plastic Buddy-and-Sis voiceovers. You want six Pepsis or a Caesar Salad with that German Pizza? Or Mexican Pizza? Or a dessert pizza?

Trimark Mutual Funds takes us on a dreamy, out-of-body trip to where the sturm and drang of stock markets and governments won’t fizz on us anymore, ’cause we’re waaay up in the sky watching a tiny seaplane take off from a lake faaar below. Old Gag: When Americans die, they go to heaven. When Canadians die, they go to the cottage! We’re supposed to be retired? At five thousand feet up in the air? aaaagggghh!!! we’re not retired!!! we’re dead!!!

Al Eisen, Inventor, pitches his 2000 Flushes Toilet Bowl cleaner. Only, Al’s about ninety, and wears brindleshit brown ties and cardigans, for God’s sake. His dentures won’t let him hit those consonants cleanly, though, so toilet is toy-et, and month is muth. He’s pushy as hell, too.

They added vitamin E preservative to Purina Cat Chow because it was important to me. Show Box. Show pour. Show cat slurping lady’s face.

Next, a network promo for the next Leafs game. Lotsa cheap shot ‘n’ fight footage and trash talk by some lunkhead from the world of all-sports radio. Sounds like Homer Simpson on steroids.

Cut to the Morgans, soooo repentant and contrite! Real people like you who switched from Bell and are just sick about it because you couldn’t get through and the lines were busy and nobody answered and getting back to Bell was such a relief and we learned our lesson and we’ll never switch again so there. These people are lucky to be alive!

Now more real people (note: real people do not photograph gracefully) eating in dimly lit Swiss Chalet. Why, you ask? Surprising combinations like chicken! ribs! Even wings! (Gasp!) $8.35! Now the closing kicker. Vee-Oh puts on chuckle voice and says….and here’s one more thing we bring you…because you’re going to have your hands full! Huh? I thought they were called fingerbowls! Nobody have any finger puns?

Now a guy is surfing a beer-colored wave that would pulverize Tokyo if it ever came ashore there, and we’re told that Labatt Copper and I quote hits the back of your throat like a cold shower. You know how taking a cold shower on the back of your throat feels? You don’t?

A black Chrysler Neon clowns around, morphing itself into an airbag, then a dragster, then a nimble dancer, then a whirling dervish or whatever. Then it gets embarrassed and turns red! Yeah, well, the brief said cute, so we do cute, and cute is all you get for thirteen grand.

A sort of nebbish Houdini hangs by his heels over a spiked death trap. A Pepsi is gonna motivate him to shed his straitjacket before the rope burns through and drops him onto the spikes. He escapes, drinks the Pepsi, and water shoots out of his head like a sprinkler. Huh?

A guy who looks like a heroin addict going cold turkey rolls down the window of his Pontiac Sunbird and tells drive-in theatres and drive-through burger stands and drive-up bank machines to keep up the good work. He’s, like, tellin’ us he likes the car, eh?

Two Scots actors do Haggis Belt Schtick about the difference between oatmeal and Oatmeal Crisp flakes. They’re not very funny, but at least they’re not frugal, which is something. Brand registration. Good.

An Ontario Instant Millions scratch-and-win spot shows what looks like stock footage of sailboats, seaplanes, skiers and that damn Ferrari again while Oh what a feeling! What a rush! Hey kids! Make this commercial at home with a pair of scissors and an old Crowbar forty-five!

And Eldon, the housepainter from Murphy Brown, does an artsy-fartsy ode to two claymation M&Ms in his Brooklyn-ese twang…brainy stuff like cosmic spectrum of colors and primal urge for milk chocolate. If you liked Eldon, and I did, maybe you’ll make the supreme sacrifice. The M&Ms are devoid of character or personality.

Volvo introduces side impact airbags with old National Geographic happy lovey poeple shots projected onto a Volvo door. Drive safely to you too.

Okay Mr. Critic, show’s over. Now what the hell you gonna write about?

Barry Base is president and creative director of Barry Base & Partners, Toronto.